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Becoming Gods: Techno-scientific and Other Deifications 
Gareth Breen (UCL)
Nicholas Lackenby (University College London)
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Jon Bialecki (University of California, San Diego)
Thursday 9 June, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

Recent popular techno-scientific visions of humanity's future have suggested that with increased capacities for prolonging, transforming and creating life we are on the verge of evolving into 'Homo Deus'. But are we being too quick to assume that becoming gods has the same significance for everyone?

Long Abstract:

Recent popular techno-scientific histories and visions of humanity and its future (e.g. Kurzweil 2005; Harari 2015; Pinker 2018) have suggested that, with increasing capacities for indefinitely prolonging, transforming and even creating life, we are on the verge of evolving from 'Homo Sapiens' into 'Homo Deus'. But are we being too quick to assume that becoming god(s) has the same significance for everyone? What it means and how it feels to be deified is surely socially, historically, and individually specific. This panel aims to investigate just this. On the one hand, it will engage and problematise the burgeoning popular and academic literature on the future of humanity and the role of technology within it by grounding the engagement in a comparative historical approach to human-divine relations which many such discussions relegate to the past and peripheries of human progress. On the other hand, the panel will seek a deeper ethnographic engagement with current techno-scientific feelings of becoming god-like. Not only a corrective to linear, Euro-centric thinking, the panel will aim to re-ground techno-scientific possibilities for becoming divine in the manifold forms and experiences of being god-like around the world. Rethinking the ways in which human beings might actually and metaphorically become 'divine' (or indeed resist deification through, for example, 'becoming cyborgian' (Haraway 2006; Parkhurst 2012; Puar 2012)), is to rethink the global cultural-political present from the horizons of its divine potentials.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -